RICE Method for Sports Injuries
Athletes are at a considerable risk for ankle and knee sprains, as well as other soft-tissue injuries. Practicing the RICE method, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation, can help jump-start the healing process in such injuries. Following these steps can even help stop complications from arising, and promote faster healing to get you back in the game. Let’s take a closer look at what exactly this method involves.
Immediately after getting hurt, make sure you rest and protect the injured area. Stop what you’re doing, and do not try to “play through the pain,” as this may further complicate your injury. Do not put any pressure or weight on the injured area, and have someone help you safely off the field.
Icing an injured area directly after getting hurt can stop excessive swelling before it even starts. Never place ice directly onto the skin; always be sure to put a protective layer of cloth between your skin and the ice pack. For 48 hours, ice the injured area for 10-20 minutes, then remove the ice for 20 minutes. Repeat this step as needed for up to 3 days. Call your orthopedist if swelling and pain persists for longer than 3 days.
Wrapping the injured area with an elastic bandage (such as an ACE™ bandage) can help decrease swelling. Howver it’s important not to wrap too tightly, as the area beneath the injury may swell and pain, numbness, and tingling can increase.
While resting, elevate the injured area as often as you can. Elevation is most effective when the area that is injured is kept higher than your heart. This can also help cut down on swelling.
If pain and swelling persist after practicing the RICE method for 2-3 days, a more serious injury may have been sustained. In these cases, it is important to visit an give our office a call and have Dr. Wise perform an examination and possible take x-rays of the injured area. Fractures and sprains/strains share many similar symptoms, and only a doctor can determine the extent of your injury.